Even the healthiest relationships ebb and flow. That glimmering spark when you meet someone for the first time? It won’t last forever, and it may be particularly elusive in decade-long marriages.
Because of this, it can be hard to identify whether your bond is in a rut or if it’s coming to an end.
Of course, love isn’t the only factor that buttresses a connection between two people. Still, if one person falls out of love, it’s a lot easier for a relationship to wobble and eventually crumble.
Knowing the reasons why people fall out of love can help you correct unwanted behaviors before they become an issue. In this article, we’ll share the biggest signs and reasons people fall out of love – as well as how you can recover your relationship if they arise.
The 3 Biggest Signs of People Falling Out of Love (Including You)
1. You Don’t Seem to Care About Them as You Used to
When you love someone, you worry about them. You care about their well-being. You wonder what they’re doing and how they’re feeling. You want to know if they got home safely and if they’re eating well. But for some reason, you and/or your partner don’t seem to care about those things anymore.
In worst-case scenarios, it may feel like you’re just sharing a home with this person you used to know so well.
2. All You Seem to Do Is Complain About Them to Other People
You may relish in a friend’s expression of disgust as they say “they did WHAT?!” and shake their heads in disapproval. Besides, you’d much rather complain about your significant other to someone else, because trying to face the situation head-on might result in a heated argument.
3. You’re Just Staying With Them for Comfort and Stability
A telltale sign of comfort-seeking is when you or your partner put minimal effort into the relationship. It’s almost like one (or both) of you is “quiet-quitting” the relationship. You do an okay job of being an average partner, and that’s that. You don’t go the extra mile, because all you have to do is keep the relationship alive.
Plus, you don’t feel like you have the energy to end this relationship and start anew. Things are comfortable as they are, and changing that isn’t in the cards.
8 Reasons Why You or Your Partner Might Fall Out of Love
1. You Seem to Be Fighting About Tiny Details
Everything is a reason to start a petty argument. Suddenly, leaving a towel on the bed or disagreeing on who should drive the kids to school are perfectly valid reasons for breaking up. It’s like one of you is always looking to start something, because your partner needs to know how much you disagree with them.
2. One of You Cheated
There’s no room for trust after one of you cheats, unless both of you are trying to “stay even” and are fine with a dismantled monogamous relationship. As the saying goes, trust is like crumpled paper: you can try to straighten it as much as you want, but it’ll never be the same again.
3. You Don’t Feel Appreciated
No matter how nice, caring, and loving you are, you don’t feel like your actions are reciprocated. You expect a compliment or a “thank you” at the very least, but you rarely feel like your partner appreciates your kindness. Sometimes, it may feel like you’re the one carrying the whole relationship on your back.
4. One of You Has Fallen In Love With Someone Else
This goes beyond finding suspicious texts on their phone. They might feel guilty, ashamed, or confused when talking to you. They might not look you in the eye. They might no longer enjoy the things you used to do regularly, such as snuggling every night.
Falling in love with someone else or out of love with you doesn’t necessarily scream “cheating,” but it does mean things aren’t as they used to be.
5. There’s a Lack of Excitement in Your Daily Life
No one should expect long-term relationships to retain the spark from when they just started. Periods of complacency are natural, especially during stressful times. Still, getting bored of conversations that used to be interesting and not being excited to see them could sign that someone is falling out of love.
6. Difficult Events Have Strained Your Relationship
A loved one’s death. A resurrected childhood trauma. Financial troubles.
Difficult events can put even the strongest relationship through trials, and getting out of them can be hard. For instance, your partner might have shown themselves to be a completely different person during times of hardship. You might even find yourself wondering who they really are.
7. Your Sex Life is Dry
It’s true that sex isn’t the cornerstone of a relationship – but it sure is an essential part of one. Dry spells are normal, especially when you’ve been married for a while. Although you shouldn’t expect to have sex at the same rate you did as when you were first dating, a long time without it could drum up a few questions. Such as, “Do they even feel attracted to me anymore?” or “Am I the problem?”
8. No Reason at All
Some people might say it’s impossible to wake up one day and decide you don’t love someone anymore. Truth is, for some people, it just might happen. Human beings are extremely unpredictable – and that remains true whether they’ve just started dating or have been married for 30 years.
It won’t always be something the other person said or did. Rather, it could be that your significant other has put their own life, goals, and preferences in the driver’s seat. It could be that they’ve decided that a relationship isn’t what they want, which could sadly happen in a matter of days. Note that everyone is different, so you should dig deeper into yours or your partner’s reasons.
What You Should Do About It, According to John Gottman’s Principles
John Gottman is an American psychologist who specializes in divorce prediction and marital stability. The following advice is based on the principles of Dr. Gottman’s book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work (1999).
Communicate! Even When It Gets Hard
“Turning toward is the basis of emotional connection, romance, passion, and a good sex life.”
– Dr. John Gottman
In any healthy relationship, partners should turn to each other instead of away from each other.
It’s not uncommon for people to claim that they’re “too tired” or “don’t have time” to listen to their partner’s issues. This is an example of turning away from each other, which often happens after long, exhausting days.
Deep inside, we might avoid serious conversations not because we’re tired, but because we’re afraid of starting arguments. However, arguments are necessary parts of relationships. Even if you two end up arguing a little, that means you’re actively dealing with the situation instead of sweeping it under the rug.
By the way: we’re not talking about verbally and physically abusive arguments. If that happens, you shouldn’t be with this person, anyway.
Let Your Partner Know That You Appreciate Them
“Successful long-term relationships are created through small words, small gestures, and small acts.”
– Dr. John Gottman
Gottman also explains that marriage may no longer be recoverable “when fondness and admiration are lacking.” This also applies to long-term relationships that haven’t yet flourished into marriage.
Small gestures and acts may look like expressing your appreciation for your partner, both verbally and non-verbally. Tell them you love them, out of the blue. Surprise them. Court them as if you’ve just met. Compliment them, and be genuine when doing so. In short, let them know you see and value them.
Try New Things Together
“Relationships that last are the ones where two people create shared meaning; where goals are set and met alongside each other. A healthy relationship involves building a life together where dreams are not only visualized but come to fruition.”
Sometimes a “new” thing doesn’t have to be fully original. It should just be something you weren’t used to doing before. Something like planning a date night or trying a new hobby together.
Creating shared meaning could also mean developing rituals, like eating meals together every night while talking about your day. Going to the gym together and becoming known as “that gym couple.” It’s all about building something special that symbolizes your love.
Remember Why You Fell in Love
In order to evaluate your admiration and fondness for your partner, Dr. Gottman suggests that you narrate the story of how you fell in love with each other. He calls this “The Story Of Us.”
Where were you? Do you remember how you felt when looking at them for the first time? What was the first thing you talked about? When did you realize they were the one?
Answering these questions might give you some overdue quality time and bring back fond memories. Have you considered that recounting your love story may be just what both of you need?
On a Final Note
While it’s definitely possible for a worn-out couple to fall back in love, not all relationships are salvageable.
In fact, a shortfall can be a clear indicator that you’re better off without each other. After all, your mental and physical health should come before romance.
If you’re both unable to identify whether your relationship is recoverable, try couples therapy. Professionals assess both sides and suggest the best course moving forward. Until then, avoid jumping to conclusions. Remember: no matter how healthy they may be, all relationships ebb and flow. No exceptions.